23 May 2024, 08:07
By Furniture News Jan 06, 2020

MBE for Hertfordshire upholsterer

Hertfordshire upholsterer Wendy Shorter-Blake has been awarded an MBE for services to upholstery, in recognition of her craftsmanship and work in ensuring her skills are passed on to current and future generations.

Wendy was among three craftspeople nominated by the Heritage Crafts Association in this year’s New Year Honours, following 16 previously successful nominations since 2013. Earlier this year, the charitable organisation – which was set up 10 years ago to support and champion traditional craft skills – published the latest edition of its HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first report of its kind to rank endangered craft skills by the likelihood they will survive into the next generation.

Wendy is not only a highly skilled craftswoman herself, but has devoted her life to ensuring that the skills of upholstery are passed on. Over the last 13 years she has set up a multi-award winning training centre, providing high standards of teaching based on her research of traditional techniques and the history of furniture.

Wendy was appointed director of training (a voluntary position) for the Association of Master Upholsters and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF) in 2008, putting her at the forefront of training provision and development of the Association’s qualification standards. In the last three years she has developed those standards into the current Diploma course, ensuring that hundreds of students can attain the highest level of qualification in the craft.

She promoted a schools programme where pupils were given the opportunity to train for an upholstery qualification, and personally sponsored one school leaver for more advanced training. Wendy has also worked closely with the charity Fine Cell Work, which offers craft training within prison and ongoing support and training for ex-offenders. In 2020 she will become the third female master of the Worshipful Company of Upholders.

The two other craftspeople receiving MBEs are reverse glass sign artist David A Smith and chair caner Brian Crossley.

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